More than a Race- A Reunion

June 13th, 2014 | In Events, Featured, Running Meets Life

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Submitted by John Corbett

The calendar clicks over to February and it’s once again time for 74-year-old John Corbett of Winter Park, FL to start getting organized for yet another July 4th Peachtree Road Race – number 37 consecutively.  First, shop for a hotel room at the starting line – the early bird gets the best location for the money and it’s a must to be in Buckhead.  Once that’s done, send a short reminder out to distant family members and friends who run and celebrate the event with the Corbett family year in and year out and need to make plans too.

Sons Richard and Mark, 26 and 34 Peachtrees respectively, started running the race along with John in 1978.  It was love at first stride and it’s been an annual family reunion ever since.  John’s wife, Sharon, joined the streak-setters in 1991 and now has 22 Peachtrees in the book while son-in-law Trace Jones, who didn’t know that running Peachtree was part of the deal when he married John’s daughter, Sherry, now has 14 races to his credit.  At various times, the group has been joined by John’s sister, Ruth Ann, his step-sons Todd, Brent and H.J. Shannon, and daughter’s-in-law Mollie and Ande. Sherry and daughter’s-in-law Stephanie and Tracey, while not running the race, serve a very important support function for the group by hauling a couple of coolers of re-hydration beverages into Piedmont Park at 6 AM, finding their favorite spot, and serving the hot and thirsty family members when they finish the race – usually over a two hour period due to the staggered start of Peachtree.  Following the “tailgate-type” party in the park, the Corbett family and friends eagerly journey to the Varsity for a feast they can only enjoy while visiting in Atlanta.

The 2014 event will be memorably special.  For the 3rd time in the last 4 years, a grandson will  run his first Peachtree and take part in the celebration.  Mason, age 10, will join his 13-year-old brother, Chase,and his cousin, Nolan, 11, as they build on their own mini-streaks and continue a family tradition as the Corbett family celebrates three generations of Peachtree warriors.

The early years and the personal best times are now solidly in the rear view mirror for most of the family.  Reluctantly, for the Corbett Family and Friends group, Peachtree has now transitioned from race to event – an event and a reunion  that is happily chronicled in 37 years and almost 3 feet of scrapbooks.

Peachtree – bring it on!

4 People have left comments on this post

» Mark Hillis

Jun 14, 2014 at 02:06:34

Nan and I look forward to another Peachttree with the Corbett family and our Winter Park Dawg friends. This will be my 38th consecutive Peachtree and Nan’s 6th.

» Leigh Ann Abree

Jun 16, 2014 at 01:06:18

Hey John!!! I am Marilyn Dickerson’s daughter – She used to work for you!!! This is so great you are STILL running and your family has joined in the tradition of running the Peachtree! You are an inspiration to many and proof that age is nothing but a number!! Way to go!! Maybe I will see you on the 4th because I will be running too!!!

» cathy

Jul 2, 2014 at 10:07:13

Good Morning !!! I am walking the Peachtree for the second time, what really makes this one special is that I got my twin sister to walk with me on OUR 55 th BIRTHDAY!!!.Yep July 4 1959 ! I lost the love of my life almost one year ago to Cancer he made my birthday last year one of the best. I know my Honey will be pushing us up the hills from heaven and at the Finish Line he will be smiling ! If you see us Say Happy Birthday Cathy and Jody GO GIRLS !!!!

» Billie O'Neil

Jul 19, 2014 at 04:07:15

The Peachtree Road Race in 1980 was my very first 10K. I finished the race in a little over an hour. Fast forward 35 years to July 4, 2015. Right now, I am beginning training to run this race again, despite some weakness from a muscle disorder which kept me from running at all for about 20 years. I WILL ACCOMPLISH MY GOAL!